Saturday, July 16, 2011

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
The percussive prowess of Ronnie Burrage

This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring drummer Ronnie Burrage, a St. Louis native who will coming back home next weekend to perform Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23 at Robbie's House of Jazz.

In addition to leading his own groups, Burrage, who's 51, has worked with a long list of well-known jazz performers, including McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Archie Shepp and many others. He's also appeared on gigs and recordings with other St. Louis musicians such as Lester Bowie, Hamiet Bluiett, Kelvyn Bell, and Joseph Bowie's band Defunkt. When he's not gigging or recording, Burrage, who also plays keyboards and mallet percussion, currently teaches music at Penn State University. For his gig at Robbie's, he'll be joined by Jeff Anderson on tenor sax and Bob DeBoo on bass.

The clip up above and the first one below both were shot in 2009 at the Baltimore venue An Die Muzik, and feature Burrage leading a band with Delmar Brown on keyboards, Gregoire Maret on harmonica and Mike Dougherty on bass. In the second clip, Burrage plays drums and keyboard simultaneously, an unusual technique which he also demonstrates in the third clip, a studio performance of his composition "Celestial Moods" with bassist Herman Burney.

The last three videos feature Burrage as sideman, starting with a 1981 performance of "Moment's Notice" with McCoy Tyner and bassist Avery Sharpe at the Berlin Jazz Festival. (The audio on this one is a bit rough, with Tyner's piano low in the mix, but Burrage has a nice solo bit in the middle that mostly compensates for the sound quality.)

Below that, there's a clip from the early 1990s of Burrage at the Montreux Jazz Festival with Wayne Shorter's band, which at the time also featured Larry Coryell on guitar, Jim Beard on keyboards and Jeff Andrews on bass. The final clip is from 2001, and shows Burrage with Archie Shepp and bassist Wayne Dockery at the Burghasen Jazz Festival.

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